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Jacksonville, FL (January 16, 2017) If you are like me, you dread driving North in the morning and South in the afternoon on I-95 going thru the interchange at J.T. Butler Blvd. “JTB”. The traffic is horrible in that area as it backs up onto the interstate and causes gridlock in all six lanes. Well help is on the way!

This past month, the Florida Department of Transportation held a public workshop going over its final drafts and providing the public an additional chance to weigh-in on the upcoming changes that are scheduled to begin later this year at a cost of approximately $78 million dollars. These improvements are being implemented to relieve congestion along the J.T. Butler Blvd corridor, to enhance safety, and to improve access to I-95. As anticipated growth continues in the communities that JTB serves, this corridor is only going to get more congested and we all can agree these improvements are definitely needed.

The primary improvements to the I-95/JTB interchange include: 1) Constructing a new free flow “fly-over” ramp from I-95 southbound to JTB eastbound. If you are heading toward the beach, your travels will be unimpeded without traffic signals, 2) Constructing a new free flow “fly-over” ramp from JTB westbound to I-95 northbound. This fly-over will eliminate the dangerous short weave across several busy lanes of traffic to get far right and onto I-95 North. The current traffic from South point North will continue to be provided allowing for a merge onto JTB underneath this new fly-over as it does today and 3) Addition of a traffic signal at JTB/I-95 North off ramp. This new signal will now allow traffic to turn left onto JTB westbound toward Philips Highway. This will eliminate the requirement to go East on JTB to perform a U-turn at Belfort Road in order to go back West towards Philips Highway.

Other improvements that will be part of this project include: 4) Widening JTB from Philips Highway to Belfort Road to six lanes, 5) Converting Salisbury Road South of JTB to a two-way roadway, 6) Close the right-turn lane from JTB westbound to Salisbury Road North and finally 7) Closing the median opening on JTB between Philips Highway and Bonneval Road, West of I-95.

These improvements along with the I-95 Overland Bridge project will keep our interstate artery busy with construction for a few years to come. Only possibility, being made worse with the talk of widening the Fuller Warren Bridge. To my fellow residents of the Southside, if you routinely travel North on I-95, it would be wise to discover some alternative routes in the very near future for your trips North on I-95 and to Downtown!